Greenway? No way! G’point bike lane wrong for industrial area, say locals

Greenway or the highway: The city is already set to install a greenway path along West Street, which community members are concerned will clash with the waterfront’s influx of new hotels and high-rises.
The Brooklyn Paper
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This is no space for green space.

A city plan to replace driving and parking space along the Greenpoint waterfront with a bucolic bike path will clash with the area’s existing industry and future development, say locals, who fear the reduced-size roadways will get bogged down with trucks and the upcoming influx of residents.

“You’re going to have a huge clusterf--- of people,” said Greenpointer Darren Lipman after the Department of Transportation presented its plan to a Community Board 1 meeting on Tuesday. “They’re building all the stuff right now, and it’s already a mess of trucks and businesses trying to do their thing.”

The department wants to reconstruct the nabe’s waterfront streets to accommodate separate bike paths and supposedly improve traffic conditions — turning heavily-trafficked two-way industrial streets into greenery-garnished one-way streets — as part of its so-called Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway project, a massive bike lane stretching all the way from Bay Ridge up the borough’s northernmost neighborhood.

The project would turn the currently two-way Commercial and Ash streets into one-way from Dupont Street to McGuinness Boulevard, funneling traffic around to Box Street. The streets would lose both a car lane and parking spaces.

But parts of the thoroughfares run through an industrial business zone — an area the city has set aside specially to encourage blue-collar enterprises — and manufacturers need that space for parking and unloading materials from large trucks, said neighbors.

One local industrialist said the change would force his tenants to re-route tractor trailers through residential streets in order to pull into his building’s Commercial Street loading dock, rather than simply turning left from Manhattan Avenue.

“It’s not a good location for a bike path,” said Brian Coleman, chief executive of the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, which houses almost 400 people and 75 businesses, and where Mayor Deblasio recently held a press conference to proclaim his commitment to protecting local industry from development.

The Greenway plan would also re-route the B43 bus through the Manhattan Avenue loop, which would take it right through the industrial center’s nexus of truck traffic. A city rep said the Metropolitan Transit Authority verified that there is enough space there for buses to move, but Coleman claims that whenever he sees rogue drivers give it a whirl, they run into a tight turn and a cluster of trucks.

“It gets busy over there,” he said. “We’re a thriving industrial business.”

A transportation rep at the meeting claimed the department had not been able to get in touch with anyone at the center to discuss the plan so far, but Coleman said the city had made no attempts to reach out that he was aware of.

“We wish the DOT would reach out to us and they never have,” he said, adding that he is easily contactable by phone and e-mail — a claim this paper can verify. “To consider something with a complete disregard for that complex is more than an oversight.”

Part of Commercial Street is also about to blow up with the massive Greenpoint Landing mega-development, which will bring around 5,500 new units of housing to the waterfront over the next decade — meaning construction traffic for the foreseeable future, and flood of new pedestrians, cars, and cabs once they’re built that would further clog the slimmed-down street, residents said.

“I don’t think it’s a viable plan at this point, especially with all the construction going on,” said Vincent Gangone, chair of Community Board 1’s transportation committee.

A department rep said planners are still finalizing the project, and promised to consult local manufacturers and work with incoming residents to accommodate the swelling waterfront population.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Resident from Brooklyn says:
Yeah, much better we allow all the new people coming to the neighborhood in the coming years to drive. That should work out fine.
Nov. 12, 2015, 9:43 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Yes, how dare people think they should be "allowed" to drive cars. Send them to the reeducation camps, and give them grey suits and bikes when they are released.
Nov. 12, 2015, 9:46 am
Ian from Williamsburg says:
This bike lane is long overdue and will be a big quality of life boost for local residents. What's missed in much of this debate is the safety and protection of bikers. Our children use the protected bike lanes and few people seem to weigh the safety concerns for bikers. This is an important form of transit in the city and people (particularly kids) deserve the appropriate protections from trucks and cars.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:04 am
Billy Gray from Greenpoint says:
Extremely disappointing, CB 1. It's like you want to make an issue out of how you weren't elected and shouldn't have a say in our street designs, since you oppose safer ones presented by experts, preferring the conveniences of your business partners over the safety and convenience of local residents.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:09 am
Craig from Bushwick says:
Ok, put it on Franklin!
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:13 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Darren Lipman also had grave concerns that -TOURISTS- were riding the East River ferry, taking up the spots that rightfully belong to New Yorkers. This is a man who should be ignored.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:13 am
Me from Greenpoint says:
A "huge clusterf--- of people" sounds way better than "a mess of trucks and businesses trying to do their thing [read: double park]”. Bring on the greenway and ignore the troglodytes.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:18 am
boof from brooklyn says:
A bike lane moves more people per lane-mile per hour than a car lane.

If people are concerned that it's too crowded there, they should be advocating to make it bikes-only, which is a more efficient use of space.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:22 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
“It’s not a good location for a bike path,” said Brian Coleman, chief executive of the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, which houses almost 400 people and 75 businesses

* Umm, yeah. So this guy is an idiot and should be fired from his position. Improved transportation infrastructure -- which this is part of -- is absolutely central to the success of a place like this.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:30 am
VLM from Brooklyn says:
Does anyone else besides Lipman get a say in this process? He's appears in so many Brooklyn Paper articles ——ing his head off about Greenpoint development.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:41 am
Rob from NY says:
This article has it backwards. It is the status quo street network that will be overwhelmed with cars and trucks.

The only answer is to discourage actively private car use, and offer non-car alternatives that are safe and attractive. Congestion caused by construction projects are a great disincentive to driving, as long as the bike trips are faster.

Reduced car use will make more room for the small trucks, although glancing at the tenant list, I bet plenty of these manufacturers and designers would use cargo bikes to transport goods if it were made easier.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:49 am
Bkmanhatman from Nubrucklyn says:
Trucks are so menacing in an industrial area. We need these bike lanes and dedicated bike paths.
I live in the general vicinity and making Greenpoint more pedestrian friendly is worth it.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:54 am
C from Brooklyn says:
No room for bikes
No room for buses
No room for trucks
No room for parking
No room for businesses
No room for construction
No room for people
No room for life
No room for sanity
Nov. 12, 2015, 11:03 am
Ian from Williamsburg says:
These Community Boards are a joke. Does anyone even know who Darren Lipman is and why he's supposed to represent our interests? As far as I can tell his qualifications are "Greenpoint Resident" so his qualifications in transit infrastructure design are questionable. He's not an elected figure and he's negatively influencing our developments. This archaic system needs to change.
Nov. 12, 2015, 11:05 am
J from Brooklyn says:
Is this an editorial? An opinion piece by Hobbs? It's certainly not reporting.
Nov. 12, 2015, 11:24 am
VLM from Brooklyn says:
This is very telling on who Darren Lipman is: an entitled self-proclaimed "early" gentrifier.
Nov. 12, 2015, 11:36 am
Ken from Greenpoint says:
how about implanting a carriage lane??
Nov. 12, 2015, 12:26 pm
Ben from Brooklyn. says:
do you realize must of the bikers are nutcases with out a job...?
Nov. 12, 2015, 12:29 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Darren Lipman isn't on the community board (I'm pretty sure) and so isn't even supposed to represent anyone. He's just a loudmouth. And not a very bright one at that.

That's not to say the people on the community board are any wiser.
Nov. 12, 2015, 12:31 pm
Jim from Greenpoint says:
Mike from Williamsburg: you got my vote....
Nov. 12, 2015, 12:35 pm
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
You want to move the maximum amount of people in the most efficient manner? Forget the bike lanes, and go after bus lanes, or better yet, light rail. Bike lanes are the least efficient method.
Nov. 12, 2015, 12:45 pm
Tyson White says:
The only thing missing here is an anti-bicycle pro-motorist rant by Tal Barzilai. Such a shame.
Nov. 12, 2015, 2:09 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Bike lanes are the "least efficient method" compared to what?

Bicycle infrastructure is dirt cheap compared to all other transportation infrastructure. And it provides the user the same full flexibility of driving.

There is NOTHING in providing bicycling infrastructure than precludes Bus or Light Rail/Tram infrastructure. Nothing. These are all solutions to the problem of capacity caused by private vehicles on the roads (note: I did not say commercial vehicles or health/safety vehicles, so you can stuff the usual comment about "Good luck making deliveries to stores on your bike".)

Example: My commute on my bike is about 1.5 miles... it is 'diagonal' to the available transit options (subway and bus). Door to Door it's about 12 minutes. By transit (which includes a lot of walking on either end) is 20 minutes. Which is more efficient? Which costs close to zero dollars for the city/state/country and is also virtually free for me?
Nov. 12, 2015, 2:09 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
That should have said 20 (plus) minutes... BP doesn't allow the plus sign. Actually, thinking about it, my commute by transit/walking is more like 30 mins. Walking without transit is even a bit faster.

(By the way, I can and sometime do drive if I need to do something with my car after work... that's about 20 minutes including the parking lot walking -- so, again, bicycling is faster -- dare I say, more efficient.)

The point is that bicycling infrastructure is not THE solution, it is PART OF the solution.
Nov. 12, 2015, 2:14 pm
AMH from Harlem says:
"The city is already set to install a greenway path along West Street, which community members are concerned will clash with the waterfront’s influx of new hotels and high-rises."

Actually, it will complement the new development very well. New residents are going to need transportation options, not gridlock.

I'm sure truck and bus routing can be solved easily. Ash Street is already one-way, and trucks can come via McGuinness or Provost. Alternatively, the greenway could cut across Clay or Dupont. There's no reason for the knee-jerk opposition.
Nov. 12, 2015, 3:52 pm
Nicole from Greenpoint says:
The Greenway is absolutely necessary, because the waterfront upzoning's transportation studies underestimated the adverse impacts of adding 17,000 people!

Meanwhile, parking for Greenpoint Landing is still undetermined, contrary to the law!
Nov. 12, 2015, 6:08 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Lady readers, your date shows up on a bicycle. Turn on or turn off?
Nov. 12, 2015, 6:19 pm
Jean from Greenpoint says:

too many people crowding into the streets, on the weekends!

the bike paths are not for double parking!

if you want to drive, move to the burbs!
Nov. 12, 2015, 6:29 pm
Jean from Greenpoint says:
Brooklyn Paper only likes to quote agitators.
Nov. 12, 2015, 6:35 pm
mozee says:
I used to bike here but there is a lot of truck traffic there.
Nov. 12, 2015, 8:48 pm
Buster from New Yawk says:
Every time I read the comments on any of Brooklyn Paper's transportation articles I wonder how they are still in business.
Nov. 12, 2015, 10:29 pm
CJ from Greenpoint says:
As a biker in this neighborhood, I just think they should build the buildings and THEN worry themselves silly about where to put their Greenway paths. We don't really know how all of this pending building is going to shake out, so building it before they come, messing with commercial truck traffic and parking doesn't make a lot of sense. Also a Greenway on Commercial Street doesn't make a lot of sense because if you are going to connect the Greenway into LIC, then you should run the paths up Eagle Street from West so the bikers will end up right at the base of the Pulaski Bridge. Commercial and Ash take you under the bridge and you have to bike 5 blocks up McGuiness to get onto the bridge path, and coming back the other direction, you'd have to go against traffic on McGuiness to get back to the Greenway when Freeman Street is right there.
Nov. 13, 2015, 12:03 am
Trollerskates from Moving Target says:
Great. Jimmy from Flatbush is able to commute by bike. If you are not, move to the suburbs. Jimmy is saving the world, so no need to contribute towards infrastructure, or the MTA. And you are evil if you dare suggest Jimmy contribute towards maintenance of roads, bridges, etc.

Jimmy has no clue what happens when all the cars go away, and no longer pay tolls, gas taxes, etc. Personally, I can't wait until they ban cars and go after bikers for all the missing revenue.
Nov. 13, 2015, 12:25 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Trollerskates, your argument would benefit from actually including any numbers. Of course, you would have to arrive at the exact opposite conclusion--the cars do not pay their own way and that people who ride bikes but aren't causing wear and tear or congestion are more making up for it.

Tell us some more about "no clue". We're all ears, if you're willing to embarrass yourself for our amusement again.
Nov. 13, 2015, 8:37 am
Manufacturing Zone from Greenpoint says:
It's a Manufacturing Zone . For Manufacturing.
Guess what, Manufacturers are still here working here everyday . So deal with it. When you go to IKEA take your Cargo bike and tell me about how you transported all of your furniture.
Nov. 13, 2015, 9:31 am
Manufacturing Zone from Greenpoint says:
Nov. 13, 2015, 9:36 am
Katie from Greenpoint says:
Exactly, Manufacturing Zone. Tell me folks, how do you expect these well-paying manufacturing jobs to continue to work if their truck access is restricted? How are they supposed to receive their materials and deliver their products if their trucks can't access the loading docks because indignant hipsters thought that a manufacturing zone would be a perfect spot for a bike lane? The idea that the neighborhood's industrial businesses, which were here long before you, can transport their materials on cargo bikes is ludicrous and just plain ignorant. Do your research, people.
Nov. 13, 2015, 9:39 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
And there it is. Several comments spewing the using irrational...

Bicycles = Banning All Motorized Vehicles

Are you folks able to dress yourselves in the morning? Serious mental deficit disorders on display here.
Nov. 13, 2015, 10:08 am
diehipster from Actual Brooklyn says:
F the Bikes
F the Beardos

Spoiled culdesac kids want everything during their 4 year Brooklyn playcation.
Nov. 13, 2015, 10:25 am
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Yep, beardos and culdesac kids... Don't you ever get tired of yourself, DH?
Nov. 13, 2015, 10:43 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
C'mon girls, your date is on a bicycle. How do you react?
Nov. 13, 2015, 1:59 pm
John from Greenpoint says:
I ran an industrial business machine shop till the young hipsters ca me and called all agencies to stop the pollution. I was in compliance a n d never received a single fine but the agravation and cost of compliance. After 30 years in the neighborhood let 8 skilled people go home. The truth is the property was worth more then the business. Now there is luxury Apts looking over Macarten park. Progress? Manufacturing is not comming back to these neighborhoods.
Nov. 13, 2015, 2:54 pm
b from gp says:
Greenpoint Landing's too small affordable projects, 21 Commercial & 33 Eagle will have 28 & 29 respectively temporary grade parking spaces on West btwn Freeman & Green, until actual parking is to be provided throughout the development site (specifics tbd, as the much of the project is not yet filed w dob). Idk re 5 Blue Slip.

Because of the anticipated gridlock, the Greenway is necessary.

This all ignores rising water levels.
Nov. 13, 2015, 3:12 pm
Darren from Greenpoint says:
@Mike, I did not say tourists should not ride the ferry. I said is it possible to have priority seating for residents as many tourists are using a commuter ferry as a cheap "circle line" tour boat, taking up all the seats. You can wait in line for two boats in the summer. The Guy next to me said his out-of-town family went on a tour last week on the ferry. Two lines, one for residents one for tourists and locals show your ID. EDC response was boats are not over capacity.
Nov. 13, 2015, 4:16 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Me from Bay Ridge --
Not all of us are defined by our car, since we don't actually live in the suburbs. Kinda sad your date thinks more of your Dodge Dart than you... no? This is New York City. Most people don't have a car.

Imagine if your date took the subway or the bus! AAACK! Say it ain't so!
Nov. 13, 2015, 4:17 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
In all honesty, how many would actually ride a bicycle in an industrial area? With all the commercial vehicles there, this sounds like a bad idea. Locals do have their point in being against this. Others just find this to be a waste of space and possibly a boondoggle to place something like a greenway in an area it would barley go used, and will most likely see it as a waste of space especially if it only goes used when weather permitting, so the rendering just might be accurate in seeing that there are more vehicles on the road than bicycles using those planned bike lanes. Meanwhile, the commercial vehicles that use those streets are there pretty much all year long, which shows where the priorities should be. The only time I can ever think of those bike lanes there being used is most likely when TA plans to do a PR stunt just to make it look like it's being used when it's really not. Unfortunately, not every street can have a bike lane, and there are reasons to why they shouldn't be there such as where this greenway is being planned. Then again, I guess by shrinking streets for vehicular traffic to cause congestion is pretty much the only way the anti-car fanatics can ever promote congestion pricing by creating the very congestion, which I like to call the Bloomberg Way by addressing a problem after creating it in the first place while blaming everyone else but yourself.
Nov. 13, 2015, 4:58 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Subway or bus is bad but bicycle is even worse! Especially if he doesn't even have a drivers license. LADIES, what do you think?
Nov. 13, 2015, 5:03 pm
Darren from Greenpoint says:
Protected bike lanes have their place on fast moving major arteries. Slow moving go no-where secondary roads there is little benefit to protect. A protected bike lane will remove a lane of traffic, a lane of parking turn the street one way. For what, you can your ride your bike on West St. just fine now. 20k new people will bring hundreds of private cars, taxis (that don't pullover) and service vehicles. All of which will need to soon traverse a one lane one way streets flanked by water to the West and North. An endless traffic jam on West that will extend on to Franklin, just as Wythe is backed all the time due to one way Kent. Why don't we route the the path down Greenpoint Av. and over Pulaski bridge ie make a commuter path. Get involved
Nov. 14, 2015, 10:32 am
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Wrong. Bikes should not be on fast-moving major arteries. That's self-evident. Secondary roads are a better option for bikers. You admit as such("little benefit to protect.").
When I commuted by bike to Manhattan over time I chose the side-streets to stay away from the heat of the trucks and the fast-moving cowboys. I ended my working years without ever seeing the inside of an ER. No bike lanes then.
As for the future, truck traffic will only grow--directly with increased population and increased affluence unless the Cross Harbor Tunnel is built to take trucks off the highways and roadways. Growth of 25% plus by 2030. Cars will never go away even with tolls on the East River bridges, which is certainly not a certainty. Only more and reliable subway transit is effective. That takes real money; and the feds and the state are not in a giving mood. There won't be any money left over for any bikes on the VNB or new elevated routes over to Manhattan from NJ or LI. We'll be lucky if the 2nd Ave line gets built far enough to serve a purpose.
Nov. 14, 2015, 5 pm
Darren from Greenpoint says:
@Tom. A protected bike lane has a physical barrier, a curb, a row of parked cars, platings, etc. between bike riders and cars. I am also a biker but when I get off the Williamsburg bridge, I don't feel comfortable riding on Delancey St a major artery. If there was a protected lane I would continue riding straight, as there is not, I do what you would do and get off. I go up narrow Clinton St. and use the painted lane. On Avenue "A" which is a wide street no painted lane needed. When I ride West St a slow moving secondary road, I don't see the need for a painted lane and especially don't see a need for a protected lane. Again the cost of the protected lane is high, it eats up a lane of parking, a travel lane and turns the street one way. A one way West street will cause cars to circle (can't go West blocked by waterfront) and thus leads to traffic congestion.
Nov. 16, 2015, 4:20 pm
Tamara from Sunset says:
Nov. 17, 2015, 4:47 pm

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